Are Crunches a Ache within the Neck?


Q: The place ought to I place my arms once I’m doing crunches? I’ve all the time put them behind my head, however I’ve been experiencing neck ache not too long ago and I feel it is likely to be from the crunches.

Primarily based on what you’re saying, your ache very properly could also be from the crunches. Sadly, many health professionals proceed to show folks to position their arms behind their heads whereas performing this train. It’s a technique that may have detrimental penalties. Right here’s why:

When the arms are clasped behind the top throughout spinal flexion (a crunch), there’s a reflexive tendency to tug on the sternocleidomastoid muscle groups of the neck. That is very true as a set turns into tougher and also you’re struggling to finish the previous couple of reps. Along with considerably rising the potential for a neck pressure, this additionally introduces momentum into the motion, thereby lowering its effectiveness in growing your abs.

For greatest outcomes, it’s advisable to maintain your arms folded throughout your chest or, as a substitute, make fists and preserve them at your ears. This may be sure that the motion takes place completely at the focus – your abs, not your neck. When you have weak neck muscle groups, it’s greatest to make use of a tool like an ab curler or one of many many ab machines out there in your native gymnasium. These items present a cushioned help in your head. Regardless, supporting your neck together with your arms will solely serve to exacerbate neck issues and impede outcomes.


Q: I hate my calves. They’re like sticks they usually make my thighs look greater than they really are. Assist!

Your plight is comprehensible. For most individuals, the calves are very troublesome to develop. There are two main causes for this. First, the calves are used greater than every other muscle groups within the physique. They’re energetic each time you stand, to not point out stroll, run, or do any cellular exercise, and due to this fact are usually extra proof against train. What’s extra, the soleus muscle, one of many two main muscle groups that make up the calves (the opposite is the gastrocnemius, or gastroc, for brief) is made up virtually completely of slow-twitch fibers. Gradual-twitch fibers are endurance-based fibers which have little or no potential for progress (versus fast-twitch fibers, that are strength-related and develop readily).

That mentioned, you possibly can enhance the looks of your calves for those who’re prepared to place within the effort and apply some good previous train science. Right here’s how: The calves could be selectively focused by utilizing two various kinds of actions. As a result of the gastroc crosses the knee joint, it’s positioned in a totally stretched place throughout workouts the place the legs are stored straight, thereby maximizing stimulation of the muscle. Thus, standing calf raises, donkey calf raises, and toe presses are wonderful decisions for focusing on this muscle. For the reason that fiber composition of the gastroc is about half fast-twitch/half slow-twitch, a rep vary of 8 to 10 per set is good for maximizing hypertrophy (muscle progress).

The soleus, alternatively, doesn’t cross the knee joint. Due to this fact, it may be focused by workouts wherein the knees are bent. Any sort of seated calf motion will do the trick right here. Due to its endurance-based fiber composition, the next rep vary is usually needed to actually fatigue this muscle. Intention for a spread of 15 to twenty reps per set.

Three to 4 units of an train for every muscle will probably be excellent. Carry out this routine a few instances per week, taking no less than 48 hours of relaxation between periods, and you need to begin seeing these sticks flip into diamonds earlier than lengthy.